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Prem Ratan Vohra Vs. M.G. Pimputkar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectAppeal Dismissed
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case Number Special Civil Application No. 1266 of 1960
Judge
Reported in(1961)63BOMLR376
AppellantPrem Ratan Vohra
RespondentM.G. Pimputkar
DispositionAppeal Dismissed
Excerpt:
.....corporation act (bom. iii of 1888), section 19(9)(12)(15) -- whether commissioner can revise list of voters where no claim or objection made under section 19(8) or 19(9) -- applicability of section 19(15)--word 'clerical' in section 19(15) whether to be read with both words 'error' and 'omission' in section.;where no objections or claims are filed under section 19(8) or section 19(9) of the bombay municipal corporation act, the commissioner cannot under section 19(12) of the act revise the list on the basis of the materials or information in his possession.;section 19(15) of the bombay municipal corporation act applies only when anyone's name has been included through a clerical error or omitted on account of such error. - indian penal code, 1860 [c.a. no. 45/1860].sections 124-a,..........name was shown in the municipal election roll, which came in force from december 20, 1956, a new list of voters was prepared before august 1, 1960, as required by sub-section (1) of section 19 of the bombay municipal corporation act. the petitioner was not in bombay in august and september 1960. the petitioner's case is that when he was in delhi, he learnt that his name had been omitted from the list of voters. on august 25, 1960, he, therefore, addressed a letter to the municipal commissioner, requesting that his name and the names of other members of his family should be entered in the electoral roll. this letter was not received in the municipal office. a supplementary list of voters was published on november 1, 1960, as provided in sub-section (13a) of section 19 of the act......
Judgment:

H.K. Chainani, C.J.

1. The petitioner is a resident of Chembur in Bombay. His name was shown in the Municipal Election Roll, which came in force from December 20, 1956, A new list of voters was prepared before August 1, 1960, as required by Sub-section (1) of Section 19 of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act. The petitioner was not in Bombay in August and September 1960. The petitioner's case is that when he was in Delhi, he learnt that his name had been omitted from the list of voters. On August 25, 1960, he, therefore, addressed a letter to the Municipal Commissioner, requesting that his name and the names of other members of his family should be entered in the electoral roll. This letter was not received in the Municipal office. A supplementary list of voters was published on November 1, 1960, as provided in Sub-section (13A) of Section 19 of the Act. According to the petitioner, he learnt on November 10, 1960, that his name was not in the supplementary list. On November 11, he sent another letter to the Municipal Commissioner, in which he requested that his name should be entered in the list of voters. The petitioner also met the Municipal Commissioner. On November 19, he was informed that as he had made his request for enrolment of his name at a very late stage, it could not be entertained in view of the mandatory provisions of Section 19 of the Act, Against the refusal of the Commissioner to enter the petitioner's name in the electoral roll, the petitioner applied to the Chief Judge of the Small Causes Court. His application was rejected, as the learned Judge came to the conclusion, that the petitioner's application had been rightly rejected by the Commissioner, because the petitioner had not applied in time for his name being entered in the list of voters.

2. From the judgment of the learned Chief Judge of the Small Causes Court, it appears that he was not inclined to believe the evidence of the petitioner that he had addressed a letter to the Municipal Commissioner on August 25, The Municipal Commissioner has denied that any such letter was received in his office. Consequently, we must proceed on the basis that no application was made to the Municipal Commissioner before September 1, 1960,

3. The next question is whether the learned Chief Judge of the Small Causes Court was wrong in rejecting the application made by the petitioner. Sub-section (1) of Section 19 of the Act provides that on or before the first day of August immediately preceding each general election, the Commissioner shall prepare a list of persons appearing to be entitled to be enrolled in the municipal election roll as voters of wards. Sub-section (4) states that in preparing the ward lists the Commissioner shall enter therein the names of the persons who are entitled to be enrolled under the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 11. These two sub-sections, therefore, impose an obligation upon the Commissioner to prepare a list of voters for each ward. Sub-section (6) states that the Commissioner shall publish the list prepared by him on or before the ninth day of August, Sub-section (1) requires the Commissioner to give notice by advertisement in the local newspapers of the publication of the said list. Sub-section (8) states that every person whose name is not in the list so published and who claims to have it inserted therein shall, on or before the first clay of September, give notice in writing of his claim to the Commissioner in such form as he may prescribe. This sub-section, therefore, gives an opportunity to persons, whose names have been omitted from the list, to have them included therein by making applications in the prescribed form on or before September 1. Sub-section (9) provides for objections being filed, to the names included in the electoral roll, This sub-section states that every person whose name is in the list may object to any other person as not being entitled to have his name retained therein, by giving notice in writing to the Commissioner and to the person objected to. Sub-section (10) states that if the name of any person is entered as a voter in more than one ward list, he may, by notice in writing to the Commissioner, choose for which one at those wards he shall be entitled to vote. Then follows Sub-section (12), which is as follows:

The Commissioner shall, before the fifteenth day of November, revise the list prepared as aforesaid.

Sub-section (13) provides for the hearing of claims and objections made under Sub-sections (8) and (9). Sub-section (13A) states that on or before the first day of November the Commissioner shall publish a supplementary list containing the names of the claimants who appear to him to be entitled to be enrolled as voters and shall give notice by advertisement in the local newspapers of the publication of the said list. It further states that within three days from the date of the said notice any person whose name is in the list or in the supplementary list may object to the name of any claimant being inserted in the list upon the ground that such claimant is not entitled to be enrolled as a voter. Sub-sections (14) and (15) are as follows:

(14) The Commissioner shall insert in the list the name of every person who has duly claimed to have his name inserted therein and whose claim is proved to the Commissioner's satisfaction.

(15) The Commissioner shall expunge from the list the name of every person proved to his satisfaction to be dead or not qualified to be enrolled and may correct any clerical error or omission in the list.

Sub-section (20) provides for application to the Chief Judge of the Small Causes Court against the order of the Commissioner rejecting any claim or objection.

4. Mr. Gokhale, who appears on behalf of the, petitioner, has strenuously eon-tended that Sub-section (12) gives a power to the Commissioner to revise the list, even if no claim has been made under Sub-section (8). He has pointed out that the primary obligation of preparing a correct list of voters and of seeing that the name of every person, who is entitled to be enrolled as a voter, is included in the list of voters, is that of the Commissioner. He has, therefore, urged that even though a claim may not have been made under Sub-section (8), if the Commissioner has information in his possession, which shows that a person's name had been wrongly omitted from the list, the Commissioner may in his discretion direct the inclusion of his name in the list under Sub-section (12). Mr. Gokhale has further argued that the view taken by the Commissioner in his letter addressed to the petitioner on November 19, 1960, that he could not entertain the petitioner's application because of the mandatory provisions of Section 19 is erroneous. We are unable to accept these arguments. The Legislature has in Section 19 enacted provisions for ensuring that the electoral roll is made as accurate as possible and that no person's name is wrongly included in or omitted from it. A provisional list is first prepared and published. Claims and objections are then invited. If any claims are allowed, a supplementary list is prepared. This is again published and objections are entertained in regard to names newly included. After these have been disposed of, a final list is prepared. Under Sub-section (9) objections may be raised to the inclusion of any names in the first list published under Sub-section (6). Sub-section (13A) provides for calling for objections even in respect of the supplementary list of voters prepared by the Commissioner after the disposal of the claims made under Sub-section (8) for inclusion of additional names in the list. Under these sub-sections, therefore, no person's name can be retained in the list without the other voters being given an opportunity to object to his name being included therein. The object of the Legislature is, therefore, clear and that is that the list of voters should not contain the names of any disqualified persons and persons who under the Act are not qualified to be. voters. Provision has, therefore, been made for the entertainment of objections to names included both in the first and the supplementary lists. If we were to accept the arguments of Mr. Gakhale, the position would be that the Commissioner would have the power to include additional names at the last moment, without inviting objections and without the other voters having an opportunity to satisfy him that those persons are really not entitled to be enrolled as voters. This will be manifestly inconsistent with the scheme of Section 19, which is that the public or rather the voters should be given an opportunity to object to the inclusion of any names in the list and to show that such names have been wrongly entered and should consequently be deleted. If Sub-section (12) was to be interpreted as contended by Mr. Gokhale that the Commissioner can under this sub-section act suo motu or on the basis of information received by him from any source, the Commissioner will also have the power to delete or omit from the list the names of persons, whose names in his opinion have not been correctly included therein. He will, therefore, be able to omit anyone's name from the list, without that person having an opportunity to satisfy him that he was lawfully entitled to be enrolled as a voter. This could not possibly have been intended and would be against the provisions of Sub-sections (9) and (13A), under which no person's name can be omitted from the list without a notice being served upon him and without his being given an opportunity to show that his name had been rightly entered in the list. The arguments advanced by Mr. Gokhale that the Commissioner can under Sub-section (12) revise the list on the basis of the materials or information in his possession, after the list had been published and advertised under Sub-sections (6) and (7), even though no claims or objections had been filed under Sub-section (8) or (9), cannot, therefore, be accepted.

5. The next argument of Mr. Gokhale is that the Commissioner should have entered the name of the petitioner by exercising his powers under Sub-section (15). This sub-section can, however, be availed of only for the purpose of correcting any clerical error or omission in the list. Mr, Gokhale has urged that the word 'clerical' does not qualify the word 'omission' and that the Commissioner can under this sub-section include anyone's name, whose name had been wrongly omitted. There is no substance in this argument. The word 'clerical' has to be read along with both the words 'error' and 'omission' and Sub-section (15) is clearly intended to apply only when anyone's name has been included through a clerical error or omitted on account of such error.

6. The petition, therefore, fails and is rejected. No order as to costs.


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